Meet Lance Martin, Assistant Program Director
As Pickleballerz gears up to open soon in Chantilly, Virginia, Lance Martin, Pickleballerz Assistant Program Director, has been working hard behind-the-scenes to create fun, indoor pickleball programs for all ages and skill levels. So far in the line-up, you can expect to see pickleball leagues, pickleball clinics for adults and kids, and pickleball private lessons. While Lance will be here to teach pickleball programs and how to serve, return, dink, and drop shot, he comes from a background of coordinating and managing tennis leagues and programs for the United States Tennis Association (USTA).
Let’s get to learn more about Lance’s experience in the net sports and what insight he has to offer to all of you pickleball players!
Q: How did you first get into playing pickleball?
I first played pickleball in 2009 in Anna Maria Island in Florida. I was a school teacher at the time in Manatee County and had been reading about it and was fascinated by the dynamics, tactics, and just that it was a racquet(-type) sport I hadn’t tried yet. In Anna Maria Island, I was met by the nicest people who gave me a paddle, a ball, and a chance to learn. I was instantly hooked, spending three hours playing my first time. I haven’t looked back since.
Q: Pickleball is often compared to tennis, but what would you say are some of the differences that set pickleball apart from it?
From the techniques to rules to court dimensions, pickleball and tennis have significant differences. The scoring in pickleball is vastly different from tennis; it’s more similar to racquetball. Only the server can win points, however, rally scoring is occasionally used. Games are typically first to nine, 11, 15, or 21 points. All serves must be underhand, contact made below the waist, and with the contact point below your wrist. Players cannot volley within seven feet from the net. The area you cannot volley in is aptly called the “No-Volley-Zone.” In pickleball lingo, it’s referred to as “the Kitchen.” Finally, the first ball that comes to you or your partner (if you’re playing doubles) must bounce. This, unlike tennis, puts the returner in the offensive position, not the server. Pickleball, by design, can be slow and purposeful, then suddenly become fast and furious.
Q: Walk us through a day in the life as the Assistant Program Director of Pickleballerz.
I wear many hats in my job and I love them all. First and foremost, it’s my job to make sure that we not only have something for everyone but also have events and activities that bring us all together. Developing a fun, challenging, and social environment that brings people together is my goal. The clinics I’m planning to offer will serve people who are totally new to pickleball as well as people who are looking to advance their playing level. Getting children involved is another focus for Pickleballerz. After school and weekend events will be developed as we move through the next few months. Children are the future of the sport and providing those new, emerging, and proficient players with opportunities to improve is paramount. I definitely look forward to hearing the ideas from our membership, our professionals, and our staff on what they see as well. Our staff and professionals will hear things and have ideas that I may miss; teamwork and fostering that communication is something I look forward to. I’ll also be on the court teaching all types of players and look forward to that. I also look forward to bringing in other dynamic and experienced professionals to meet everyone’s needs.
Q: What advice do you have for someone who has never played pickleball?
Expect to love it! Most of the people I have invited to try pickleball love it to this day. Be ready to move a lot, get a great workout, and meet new people who will share your same interest in the sport. In Pickleballerz’ Pickleball 101 class, you’ll get an introduction into hitting forehands, backhands, and serves. By the end of the 90-minute class, you’ll be wanting to know when the next class starts and how you can continue playing and learning. What I love about this game is its learning curve; a large percentage of people can play a game by the end of the first class.
Q: As pickleball players are soon-to-be coming through the doors of Pickleballerz indoor facility, what’s the #1 thing you would like for them to know before coming?
They should expect to find an amazing and welcoming environment to play pickleball, stay fit, and have fun. As a 100% dedicated indoor pickleball facility, our goal is to make Pickeballerz as welcoming and enjoyable as we can. Whatever your pickleball needs, whether it be lessons, competition, drop-in, a new paddle, or other pickleball gear, we’re ready to serve you. We’re a one-stop pickleball location!
Excited about the launch of Pickleballerz? Keep up with Pickleballerz as it prepares for opening by following on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and subscribing to the mailing list. Pickleballerz will be conveniently located off Routes 28 and 50 at 14424 Albemarle Point Place, Chantilly, Va.